Korean-style mapo tofu

Mapadubu 마파두부

I’m excited to share my Korean-style mapo tofu (mapadubu: 마파두부) recipe with you today!

If you’ve been cooking Korean dishes for a while, I’m sure you have some Korean sauces and pastes stocked in your pantry or refrigerator by now. Using what you have already, you can make this dish very easily! Mapadubu is originally a Chinese dish, but we Koreans Koreanized our own version. Years ago I posted a recipe for Chinese-style mapadubu, but this time I want to show you a Korean-style version, using Korean ingredients.


It’s a simple recipe but it looks so gorgeous when it’s placed on the dinner table! Of course it tastes so good, too: smooth tofu, firm pork bits, and vegetables with a generous amount of spicy and smoky saucy broth! Everybody at the table will be excited to scoop some of it and enjoy it mixed with warm rice!

One good thing about this dish is that you don’t need to prepare any soup or stew to serve it with, as we usually do for Korean meals. It’s plenty moist enough when mixed with rice, so that’s all you need. I used 1 package of tofu, which where I live happens to be 1 pound (453 grams). You can tell your family or friends, “Give me 1 package of tofu, then I will make something delicious for all of you!” : )

Be sure to stir fry the pork until it’s just a little crispy. If you’re not a big fan of pork, use chicken or beef , and to make a vegetarian version, use mushrooms instead of meat and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and add them in step 4 along with vegetables.mapotofu-(mapadubu--마파두부)


Serves 3 to 4

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon peeled ginger, minced
  • 8 ounces pork shoulder (or chicken or beef), cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1 medium onion (about 1 cup), cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 2 mild green chili peppers (or ½ of green bell pepper), chopped
  • 8 green onions, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1¼ cup unsalted chicken or beef stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 pound tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


cubing pork


  1. Heat up a large skillet or a pan over medium high heat. Add vegetable oil, garlic, and ginger, stirring with a wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic turns light brown and crispy and the oil smells fragrant.frying garlicfried garlic
  2. Add the pork, kosher salt, and ground black pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring with the wooden spoon until the pork turns a little crunchy.Adding salt
  3. Stir in hot pepper flakes for about 30 seconds until it bubbles and smells a little smoky.
  4. Add the onion, green chili pepper, and green onion. Stir for 1 minute until the vegetables turn slightly withered.mapotofu-(mapadubu--마파두부)
  5. Stir in soy sauce and hot pepper paste.
  6. Add 1 cup chicken broth and cook for about 2 minutes until vigorously boiling.
  7. Add the tofu cubes and gently mix with a wooden spoon, careful not to break up the tofu. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until the tofu turns soft.stirring
  8. While the tofu is cooking, combine the rest of the ¼ cup chicken broth and potato starch in a small bowl and mix it well. Add it to the boiling mapo tofu and gently stir it in with a wooden spoon to thicken the sauce.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil.finished
  10. Transfer to a large shallow bowl. Serve with rice, kimchi, and a few more side dishes.



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  1. jpatterson Albany, NY joined 3/16 & has 2 comments

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was delicious! I forgot to add the green chili though .

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  2. Jung Ah Los Angeles, CA joined 6/20 & has 2 comments

    Thank You maangchi. The Mapo Tofu done with ground beef turned out great!

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  3. Schnauzi Munich joined 5/20 & has 1 comment

    Really yummy!

    Cooked it today for the first time. I experimented a bit with it when it was done and found that some chopped Kimchi and its juice as well as a bit of orange zest make it pop even more.

    I’d like to try frying the tofu next time before adding it to the stew!

    Anyhow it’s really delicious :)!

  4. JesQQ Australian joined 5/20 & has 1 comment

    I made it today and it was one of the best tofu dishes I ever made for dinner! The recipe was really easy to follow and it was really delicious. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe:)!

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  5. Diletta Bologna, Italy joined 4/20 & has 1 comment

    Super Maangchi!! Had this today for lunch… sooooo delicious!!! Even though I’m an italian cook, I think at least 50% of my home meals are Oriental-inspired (mostly Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Indian), so even in these quarantine times my pantry is well stocked with all the ingredients I need to try your mouthwatering recipes… luchy me! :) This time I used pork belly, maybe next time I will experiment with some duck I have in the freezer, do you think it would work well?
    A big hug from Bologna!

  6. Deweyblue Phoenix, AZ joined 1/20 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi,
    I wondered if I can substitute the potato starch for anything else?

  7. PoniesPonies Seattle joined 11/19 & has 5 comments

    One more cute picture!

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  8. PoniesPonies Seattle joined 11/19 & has 5 comments

    Maangchi I’m enjoying your new cookbook so much. This recipe was delicious. I used firm (not extra firm) tofu to great results. It tasted even better the next day.

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  9. This is so delicious! I made it with ground bison and a dashi broth. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. littlemays Indonesia joined 9/19 & has 1 comment

    I made this few days ago. It’s sooo gooddd and super easy! My family loved this dish so much… Even my older brother who are a lil bit hesitant about trying ‘strange’ food said this is good.. Will definitely make this again.

  11. Nora Nero East Java, Indonesia joined 2/19 & has 13 comments

    Just made it for dinner tonight. I add more chicken broth Maangchi, since my dad love foods with a lot of liquid (elder people will be easier to chew and swallow). But, mine looks like jjigae rather than mapa tofu. I skip the hot pepper flakes because my family don’t really like spicy dishes. And seems like this step affects the color of my mapa tofu by a lot

  12. Emyleav Europe joined 7/18 & has 2 comments

    Absolutely lovely! I think I would prefer a firm tofu though, the texture is strange to me, very soft and broke easily, but maybe that’s just preference!

  13. EvilGrin joined 6/15 & has 46 comments

    Pixian chili bean paste (doban djan) is the authentic paste for mapo tofu but it is super salty so if you want to try it go easy on it. Its not sweet like gochujang. The good stuff comes from Chengdu China.

    You can certainly make it without meat. The better restaurants around here serve it both ways and also offer a Hunan style tofu. Its just fried, spicy and usually no mala.

  14. ibella Poland joined 9/19 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! This looks soooo delicious. Can you please advise what can i use instead of hot pepper paste? :)

  15. BeelzeBabe Finland joined 9/18 & has 9 comments

    Hi Maangchi! This looks absolutely divine and like something that could save the day now that the weather’s turning cold, grey and dreary where I live… Do you think I could replace the pork with some pre-soaked shiitake mushrooms? I’m trying to eat as little meat as possible and I wonder if that could give this dish some nice, deep meaty taste. Thank you for the recipe, it looks absolutely wonderful!

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